Ocean of Talent

Expedition Team

We analyze personality types and professional strengths and match them to Executive Producer interests to create customized teams that are optimized for creative output and fun.

Ocean of Talent

We are an international team of world-class filmmakers, scientists, television hosts, explorers, divers, guides, pilots, captains, photographers and naturalists.


Ian Kellett has  filmed everything from Tiger sharks in West Australia,

for National Geographic, BBC’s Oceans and Frozen Planet to a “Top Gear” special on Evel Knievel right before he died. Highlights of Ian’s career include capturing the first footage of a new primate species in Bolivia (Wildlife Conservation Society auctioned off the naming rights for $720,000 to help protect the monkey’s habitat), exploring North America’s water stories with Alexandra Cousteau, organizing community cinema events in central America, diving in the Arctic circle for the BBC and retracing the expeditions of renowned field biologist George Schaller from Alaska, To Brazil to India. His passion lies in immersing himself into humbling habitats, learning from nature and sharing the victories of overcoming tough challenges with a team of passionate people. Ian believes that storytelling is the glue that bonds humanity and that you have to get out there and participate in order to connect to the greatness of life.


Rich Hallam has years of experience working in Marine Conservation all over the world,

including fish, turtle and coral reef monitoring in Mexico, Seychelles Thailand and Belize. He is also a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer and RYA Ocean Yachtmaster.

Rich has over 22,000 sea miles under his belt including two transatlantic crossings. He was a private diving instructor on board a 65m Superyacht ensuring one of the world’s wealthiest businessman and his high profile guests received a 6 star level of service.

Rich is a Director at MCE and manages the production and logistics of the media campaigns and ensures Executive Producer safety and comfort especially during underwater exploration. He’s also fluent in Spanish and French.

When he isn’t working on MCE projects Rich is the Producer for Alexandra Cousteau’s Blue Legacy International films.

rich@marineconservationexpeditions.com


Alec Cunningham is a Superyacht Captain & holds a Master Mariner’s license of Unlimited Tonnage, All Oceans. He has been going to sea his entire life.

Alec graduated from Maine Maritime Academy in 2000 and took a commission in the US Navy Reserves and started to work aboard large tankers.  He also has 2 decades of commercial shipping experience.

During the last 10 years he has captained large yachts both private and chartering in the Caribbean and Med. For the past 2 years he has been sailing as the Captain of a private expedition vessel engaging in marine nature, conservation, and sustainability also participating in a series of discoveries and adventures in the Pacific and South Pacific.

 


Paul Rose is one of the world’s most experienced and respected science and adventure expedition leaders.

He is the Vice President of the Royal Geographic Society and the Chair of the Expeditions and Fieldwork division. Paul’s television presenting credits include: Britains Secret Seas, Oceans, Voyages of Discovery, Take one Museum, Meltdown, Wind and Scrapheap challenge.

His professional diving work as the diving officer for the British Antarctic Survey and as the diving ops advisor for the Royal Geographic Society has put him under water all over the world, plus he’s bloody good fun to have around. Enough said!

 


Alexandra Cousteau, A National Geographic “Emerging Explorer”, filmmaker and globally recognized advocate on water issues.

Alexandra Cousteau continues the work of her renowned grandfather Jacques-Yves Cousteau and her father Philippe Cousteau, Sr. She has mastered the remarkable storytelling tradition handed down to her and has the unique ability to inspire audiences on the weighty issues of policy, politics and action. Alexandra is dedicated to advocating the importance of conservation and sustainable management of water in order to preserve a healthy planet. Her global initiatives seek to inspire and empower individuals to protect not only the ocean and its inhabitants, but also the human communities that rely on freshwater resources.


Dr. Sylvia Earle, National Geographic Society Explorer in Residence

called “Her Deepness” by the New Yorker and the New York Times, “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress, and first “Hero for the Planet” by Time magazine, is an oceanographer, explorer, author, and lecturer.

Formerly chief scientist of NOAA, Earle is the founder of Deep Ocean Exploration and Research, Inc., founder of Mission Blue and SEAlliance, and chair of the Advisory Councils of the Harte Research Institute and the Ocean in Google Earth. She has a B.S. degree from Florida State University, M.S. and PhD. from Duke University, and 22 honorary degrees. She has authored more than 190 scientific, technical, and popular publications; lectured in more than 80 countries; and appeared in hundreds of radio and television productions.


Shawn Heinrichs is an Emmy Award winning Cinematographer, Photographer, and Marine Conservationist.

He has worked with leading journalist and film teams including CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Yann Arthus Bertrand, and National Geographic, and delivered projects for many of the top marine conservation organizations including WildAid, Shark Savers, Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy and Pew Environment Group. His award-winning work has been featured with National Geographic, BBC, New York Times, Huffington Post, Washington Post, WIRED and numerous other print and online publications. Shawn serves on the International Board of WildAid, on the Board of Shark Savers, is an Associate Director of Manta Trust, and an Associate Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP).

 


Dr. Florian Graner is a Marine Biologist,

with a specialization in marine mammals. He has won dozens of global awards for his amazing underwater cinematography of everything from deep sea sharks in the fjords of Norway to migrating grey whales in California. His unique blend of technical rebreather diving, scientific knowledge and his artistic eye keep in demand all over the world. His work helped shaped marine conservation policy in Norway and Germany and he is unrelenting in his passion and drive to help marine conservation and scientific understanding which is evident in his prolific output as a TV host, author, cinematographer, and film producer. Oh, and he his is Fluent in German, Norwegian, Dolphin and English;)


 Mark Emery caught his first alligator, a seven footer, at age fourteen and his first rattlesnake soon after.

He has spent most of his adult life in the wilds. As a young man he spent nine months alone in a cabin sans power to catch poachers. For the last 28 years he has lived in Alaska for the summer filming bears, salmon, wolves, caribou and moose. In the Spring you will likely find Mark filming alligators, manatees and many other species in the clear springs of Florida. He has filmed with the Navy Seals, IMAX, BBC, National Geographic and the Discovery channel. Winter finds him in his recording studio writing scores for Television, with just over 200 television shows notched into his belt, one could say he likes the diversity of life.  To round things out he is a master fishermen and guide, courageous and skilled diver, coast guard rated captain and one hell of a nice guy.


Vanessa Boshoff is a television host, wildlife naturalist and adventure guide.  As the host and creative producer for Animal Planet’s

Spring watch and Caught in the Moment Vanessa traveled around the the globe to capture footage of endangered species and animals in rare, beautiful and time sensitive moments to raise global awareness of our imperiled ecosystems. From tagging hammerhead sharks in Cocos Island to tango school in Buenas Aires, she is ever tasting the waters of exploration and travel.  She guides exclusive tours between two family lodges in Jackson Hole and Costa Rica, she is as comfortable on the back of the horse in the mountains of Wyoming as she is diving with Whales off the coast of her home in Panama.

 


Michael Pitts specializes in filming underwater and is regarded as one of Britain’s foremost underwater cameramen.

However, he is equally happy shooting on the surface or from the air. Amongst his many awards he has received Emmy’s for cinematography on two BBC land mark series: David Attenborough’s ‘Private Life of Plants’ and ‘Blue Planet’. He has just completed the underwater filming on Sky Atlantic’s major 3D series on the Galapagos, presented by Sir David Attenborough. He is currently working on a ‘Future Planet’ Productions film on plastics in the worlds oceans which is due for cinema release in 2013.

Michael has over 20 years experience of making wildlife and science documentaries for the BBC and Independent Companies.  He loves a good cup of Tea, has a great sense of humor and may be one of the most understated storytellers of all time.


Paul Atkins is best known for his wildlife films,

like the unforgettable sequence of killer whales preying on seal pups in the BBC’s Trials of Life (1990), for which he won a BAFTA award. Atkins was also the director of photography for the Cape Horn unit for the feature film Master and Commander which won an Academy Award for Cinematography by Russell Boyd, ASC. Atkins has been nominated for an Emmy award numerous times, winning it for his work in Great White Shark (1995) (Cinematography), and Hawaii: Strangers in Paradise(1991) (Cinematography, Outstanding Cultural Programming). His previous career as a Marine Biologist guides his passion for connecting people to the natural world.

 


Monty Halls is a writer, explorer, television presenter and public speaker.

A former Royal Marines officer who worked for Nelson Mandela on the peace process in South Africa, he left the services in 1996 to pursue a career in leading expeditions. Having achieved a First Class Honors degree in marine biology, over the next decade he circumnavigated the globe four times on various projects, leading multi-national teams in some of the most demanding environments on earth. Notable expeditions included an anti poaching project in the high montane grasslands of the Nyika Plateau in northern Malawi, the discovery of a sunken city off the coast of Tamil Nadu in India, and a (successful) attempt to find and photograph a rare crocodile species in the mountain pools of the Raspaculo Basin in Central America. In 2002 he was awarded the Bish Medal by the Scientific Exploration Society for his services to exploration.


Chris Jenkins is a documentary filmmaker

who has been behind the lens of award-winning films such as Marley (2012), The Matador (2008), Riverwebs (2007) and Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars (2005). His work has aired on a variety of channels including PBS, A&E, Discovery, The History Channel & The Travel Channel. Chris is also a Lecturer in the Film and Media Studies program at UCSB where he helps new talent develop their filmmaking skills. Prior to receiving his Masters degree in Documentary Film and Video from Stanford University, Chris worked with deaf Sudanese refugees in East Africa in and orphaned children in southern Chile.


Rick Rosenthal  is a multiple EMMY and BAFTA award-winning cinematographer. A professional marine biologist, Rick is a unique blend of biologist, educator and filmmaker.

He started diving in San Diego in 1960, and for many years was involved with scientific research projects along the Pacific Coast of North and South America.  Rick has authored or co-authored more than fifty scientific papers on near shore ecology and fisheries biology. He received a Bachelors Degree in Biology from California State University (Humboldt), and a Masters Degree in Marine Biology from San Diego State University.

In 1984, he began a long association with the prestigious BBC/Natural History Unit in Bristol, England. During this time, he has filmed some of the most challenging wildlife subjects in the sea. Rick was a principal cameraman for BBC’s landmark BLUE PLANET series, and the feature film DEEP BLUE.  He filmed on the blockbuster series PLANET EARTH and Disney Nature’s EARTH.  The BBC, PBS and Discovery channels commissioned three of his whale films RIDDLE OF THE RIGHT WHALE, HUMPBACK WHALES and SPERM WHALES BACK FROM THE ABYSS for global broadcasts.

 


Sara Campbell is a world champion freediver, meditation, Freediving and Yoga coach, and TV presenter.

Sara has trained her body, but more importantly her mind, to perform the ‘impossible’ – diving to over 100m below the surface of the ocean on just one breath. Her secret? Meditation and yoga.

For Sara this is the purest – and only – way to enjoy the wonderous gift of our underwater playground. She teaches to share her passion for life and our oceans.

Sara runs private yoga, meditation and freediving retreats and courses in her hometown of Dahab, Egypt, and around the world. Sara Campbell joins MCE Expeditions to offer her coaching when requested by our Executive Producers. If you would like to experience Sara’s underwater apnea world you can request for her to join your MCE expedition.


Mark J. Spalding is the President of The Ocean Foundation and is an authority on international ocean policy and law.

He is the former Director of the Environmental Law and Civil Society Program, and Editor of the Journal of Environment and Development, at the Graduate School of International Relations & Pacific Studies (IR/PS), UC-San Diego. Spalding has also taught at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD’s Muir College, UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, and University of San Diego’s School of Law.  He was a research fellow at UCSD’s Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, a Sustainability Institute – Donella Meadows Leadership Fellow and a SeaWeb Senior Fellow. He is chair emeritus of the National Board of Directors of the Surfrider Foundation, and was the chair of the environmental law section of the California State Bar Association from 1998-1999. He holds a B.A. in history with Honors from Claremont McKenna College, a J.D. from Loyola Law School, and a Master in Pacific International Affairs (MPIA) from IR/PS.

 


Daniel Schaeffer, US Coast Guard & Chief of Fisheries Enforcement, 

has nearly 2 decades of involvement with international fisheries enforcement in almost every corner of the globe including multilateral meetings, treaty negotiations, as a member of US delegations to various RFMOs, US Coast Guard representative to enforcement meetings, bilateral enforcement agreements, operational discussions and planning assessment of enforcement capacity.


 

 


Sheetal Walsh provides advisory services to socially conscious companies,

so that they can access smart venture capital, corporate partnering, global expansion and PR,

Sheetal is Founder of Shanti Life www.shantimicrofinance.org  a UK/USA Charity that provides the poor in India with access to clean water, capital, technology and training so that they can build healthy lives and sustainable businesses.

Sheetal is also the UK Dealmaker (by appointment) for the UK Trade and Investment’s Global Entrepreneur Programme, as a liaison between Government and entrepreneurs. She has received several awards including Asian Women of Achievement: Social and Humanitarian (Prince Charles and Cherie Blair)  Management Today Magazine 35 Under 35; Success Magazine No 5 of top most powerful Asian women in the UK.


Scott McDougall is an advisor, writer, and speaker in the environmental, sustainability, social investment, and business communities.

A biologist by education, Scott has devoted his career to management and marketing in the environmental field.

Until 2012 when he sold the company, Scott was President and CEO of TerraChoice Group Inc., a firm specializing in sustainability certification and marketing. TerraChoice combined science and business expertise to help genuine environmental leaders build market share and accelerate progress towards sustainability.

Scott has been featured as an expert commentator in mass media including TV appearances on Canada AM, Business Week, CBC, CNBC, and print coverage in publications such as The New York Times, The Economist, Newsweek, Marketing Magazine, The National Post, The Gazette, USA Today, as well as the UK’s The Guardian, Daily Mail and BBC. Today Scott helps social entrepreneurs deliver business solutions to pressing environmental, sustainability, and social challenges.

 


Graeme Kelleher became the first Chairman and CEO of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA),

positions he held for 16 years. He worked with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and became the first Vice Chairman, Marine of its World Commission on Protected Areas. He still works with those organisations and acts as a Senior Advisor to some of their departments.
He has designed systems of marine protected areas (MPAs) in several countries and is at present a member of the Scientific Council for MPAs in West Africa (RAMPAO).

Other positions he has held include Professor of Systems Engineering at James Cook University in Queensland, Australia, project manager for various Marine Protected Area projects in various countries, and Co-Chairman of the Life Sciences Panel of the $650 million p.a.

Captain Richard Bristol is an incredibly experienced skipper,

With over 30 years of ocean passages from Florida to Greece, England to West Indies, Great Lakes to Gulf of Mexico, Canadian Maritimes to Dutch West Indies, British Columbia to Panama Canal, Nova Scotia to Windward Islands, Lesser Antilles.

‘Bristol’ completed a three year, 26,000 mile transit of North America, as Captain of M/V DRIFTWOOD  to film “Life on the Waterways of North America” a PBS Documentary.

Bristol’s knowledge of the oceans is a real asset to MCE.


Derya Akkaynak is an aerospace engineer turned oceanographer.

Originally from the Aegean coast of Turkey, Derya– whose name means ‘ocean’– had to get a bachelor’s and a master’s degrees in aerospace engineering and work in consulting for three years before she realized she wanted to spend the rest of her life at sea. She is currently finishing her PhD in Oceanography in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program, focusing on quantifying the camouflage of cephalopods like cuttlefish and octopus. Her scientific field experience includes AUV deployment in the Bering Sea, LIDAR on sea ice in Antarctica, filming octopus in the Caribbean, photography and spectrometry of coral in Hawaii and cuttlefish in the Aegean. She is a PADI Divemaster, an AAUS Scientific Diver, and a certified ice diver. Derya is also the founder of the fledgling citizen science project divers4oceanography.org, which collects water temperature data from SCUBA divers and distributes it for scientific use. Derya is an active advocate for sharks in Turkish waters, campaigning to educate the media on the critical role of sharks for the well-being of the ecosystem and the future of the fishing industry.

 


Mónica Naranjo specializes in conservation filmmaking and social awareness issues.

She has designed communication tools for the sustainable economic development of coastal communities in Costa Rica, live-stock vaccination campaigns in Haiti, refugee awareness in Central America and access to drinkablewater through community-based aqueducts in Colombia.  Mónica holds a masters in Screenwriting for documentary, multimedia and fiction. She’s also an accomplished film editor, computer animator and film director.  In 2009, she was one of only seven Latin American entrepreneurs to be awarded a fellowship by the Swedish International Development Agency on Strategic Business Management, an intense seminar on leadership, business development and change management with special focus on Latin America and Africa.